Chapter 17.10
COMMERCIAL ZONES

Sections:

17.10.010    Purpose and intent.

17.10.020    Commercial districts.

17.10.030    Design standards and guidelines.

17.10.040    Allowed uses.

17.10.050    Floor area ratios (FAR).

17.10.060    Maximum building height.

17.10.070    Setbacks and required sidewalk width.

17.10.080    Parking and loading.

17.10.090    Landscaping and screening.

17.10.100    Fences.

17.10.110    Signs.

17.10.120    Relationship to AICUZ.

17.10.010 Purpose and intent.

The intent of these commercial district regulations is to implement the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan, the downtown plan, and the US 2 corridor plan. These areas are intended to bring employment, shopping, civic, recreational, and residential activities along the US 2 corridor and in emerging commercial nodes.

New development and redevelopment is encouraged in these districts to promote a relatively cohesive development pattern with a mix of uses, higher density housing, buildings oriented to the street, screened parking areas behind buildings, alternative modes of transportation with a safe pedestrian environment, quality design, smaller blocks and relatively narrow streets with on-street parking. (Ord. C-962 § 12, 2021)

17.10.020 Commercial districts.

A. C-1 Downtown. The intent of the C-1 downtown zone is to facilitate development of an identity-rich, mixed-use, and compact downtown environment. Whether located along US 2 or at the core of another smaller commercial district, the C-1 zone is intended to create and sustain an environment of commercial vitality, pedestrian movement, civic activity, a mix of housing types, and social interaction. This district implements the Comprehensive Plan’s commercial land use designation. This zone promotes the greatest pedestrian orientation of the City’s commercial zones. To accomplish this, some limitations are placed on auto-oriented activities and some types and the allowable size of some uses are controlled.

B. C-1A Downtown Transition. The intent of the C-1A downtown transition zone is to facilitate development in those places along the US 2 corridor near the C-1 zone that manage the transition between a corridor focused on highway access and the slower-paced downtown district. Development and land use in this zone shall more closely approach the roadway edge, place less emphasis on parking lots, add architectural detail and be more accommodating of pedestrian movement than development in the C-2 zone, contributing to a visual environment that slows speed on US 2 as travelers approach the C-1 zone. Development in this zone may have a greater emphasis on ground-floor residential uses, offer more surface parking and rely more on direct highway access than development in the C-1 zone. It promotes new development and redevelopment that is pedestrian-oriented while also accommodating the automobile.

C. C-2 Highway Corridor. The intent of the C-2 highway corridor zone is to permit large-scale development reliant on highway access and visibility, where uses benefit from high vehicular trip counts and cater to drivers of private vehicles by providing visible, convenient parking and a range of retail, institutional, office, civic, recreational, and residential uses to meet the community’s needs. While the priority of this zone is to emphasize vehicular access, public transportation, pedestrians, and cyclists are also served, with dedicated, safe facilities. (Ord. C-962 § 13, 2021)

17.10.030 Design standards and guidelines.

All development in the C-1, C-1A, and C-2 districts shall address the pertinent design standards and guidelines.

A. Administration and Interpretation. This section assigns standards related to site plan and building design and shall be interpreted by staff as part of land use permit or building permit review, as appropriate. Building plans shall be submitted in sufficient detail to permit accurate staff review of these provisions, including, but not limited to, site plans and exterior elevations as required by AHMC 14.03.030. An applicant may seek relief by the Technical Review Committee, provided alternative design enhancements are proposed in place of those requirements not able to be met.

B. Ground Floor Windows. These provisions apply to nonresidential building facades between two feet and 10 feet above the level of the adjacent sidewalk, walkway or ground level.

1. A minimum of 50 percent of any ground floor nonresidential building facade that is visible from and located within 20 feet of the lot line of an arterial street designated on the arterial street plan shall be comprised of windows with clear, “vision” glass allowing views into the interior. Display windows may be used to meet half of this requirement.

2. A minimum of 30 percent of any ground floor nonresidential building facade that is visible from, fronting on, and located within 60 feet of the lot line of an arterial street designated on the arterial street plan shall be comprised of windows with clear, “vision” glass allowing views into the interior. Display windows may be used to meet half of this requirement.

3. For portions of facades that do not have windows, see guidelines for treating blank walls, subsection (H) of this section.

C. Facade Detail.

1. Buildings shall have a distinct “base” at the ground level, using articulation and materials such as stone, masonry, or decorative concrete.

2. The “top” of the building shall be treated with a distinct outline with elements such as a projecting parapet, cornice, or projection.

D. Articulation.

1. Facades longer than 50 feet shall be broken down into smaller units through the use of offsets, recesses, staggered walls, stepped walls, pitched or stepped rooflines, overhangs and other elements of the building’s mass. Simply changing materials or color is not sufficient to accomplish this.

2. Articulation shall be provided along facades visible from the street, as well as from neighboring residential areas.

E. Prominent Entrance. Principal building entries shall be marked by at least one element from Group A and one element from Group B:

1. Group A.

a. Large entry doors.

b. Recessed entrance.

c. Protruding entrance.

2. Group B.

a. Canopy.

b. Portico.

c. Overhang.

F. Ground Level Details.

1. Ground level of building shall be pedestrian-friendly in scale, expression and use of materials.

2. Ground floor of the buildings shall have at least three of the following elements:

a. Large windows.

b. Ground-level detailing for storefront windows.

c. Projecting sills.

d. Pedestrian scale signs.

e. Canopies.

f. Plinths.

3. Weather protection, in the form of awnings, overhang, panels, or canopies, shall be installed over display windows, doors, and entryways, shall project from the face of the building no less than 60 inches, and shall have a minimum eight-foot clearance from the sidewalk.

G. Roof Expression. Buildings with flat roofs shall have portions with pitched roofs, extended parapets, or projecting cornices to create a prominent edge when viewed against the sky, especially to highlight major entrances.

H. Treating Blank Walls. Where windows are not provided on walls (or portions of walls) facing streets or visible from right-of-way, at least four of the following elements shall be incorporated:

1. Masonry (but not flat concrete block).

2. Concrete or masonry plinth at wall base.

3. Belt courses of a different texture and color.

4. Projecting cornice.

5. Projecting metal canopy.

6. Decorative tilework.

7. Trellis containing planting.

8. Medallions.

9. Opaque or translucent glass windows.

10. Artwork such as sculptures, murals, inlays, mosaics, or elements integrated with the project.

11. Vertical articulation.

12. Lighting fixtures.

13. Recesses.

14. An architectural element not listed above, as approved, that meets the intent of this section.

I. Plazas and Other Open Spaces.

1. New or renovated buildings over 40,000 square feet shall have plazas, courtyards or other pedestrian spaces at or near their main entrances.

2. Plazas and other open spaces shall be a minimum of one square foot of plaza per 100 square feet of building area. This area may count toward the interior landscaping required.

3. Plazas, courtyards and other pedestrian space shall include at least three of the following:

a. Special interest landscape.

b. Pedestrian scale bollard or other accent lighting.

c. Special paving, such as colored/stained concrete, brick or other unit paver.

d. Artwork.

e. Seating, such as benches, tables, or low seating walls.

f. Water feature.

J. Building Location. In the C-1 zone, buildings shall be located on the front property line along US 2, 14th Ave, and 6th Ave adjacent to the sidewalk, with the following exceptions allowed:

1. Buildings may be set back from the front property line the minimum distance necessary to allow space for the construction of a 10-foot-wide public sidewalk.

2. Buildings may be set back to allow for outdoor seating, small item or public art display areas, additional pedestrian circulation, or other public purpose not devoted to automobile circulation.

K. Parking Lots. In the C-1 zone, surface parking shall observe the following location standards and otherwise comply with provisions of Chapter 17.21 AHMC:

1. Parking lots shall not be located between buildings and US 2, 14th Ave or 6th Ave.

2. Access to parking lots (driveways) shall not be from US 2, 14th Ave or 6th Ave if another option, such as an alley, is available.

L. Mixed Uses. Mixed-use development shall observe the following design standards and otherwise comply with the development standards specified in underlying zoning districts:

1. Ground-floor ceiling height for mixed-use buildings shall be no less than 14 feet from finished floor.

2. Mixed-use developments shall be a minimum of two stories in height.

3. No residential use shall be permitted to be located along the street edge.

4. Sound mitigation shall be required if a proposed project is located within a 65-CNEL or higher sound contour, such that the decibel level produced by exterior noise sources is reduced by a minimum of 25 dB noise-level-reduction when heard from the interior of the structure.

5. Parking requirements for mixed-use developments may be reduced in accordance with Chapter 17.21 AHMC and allowances for shared or complementary parking.

6. Metal siding, metal pole buildings, and manufactured housing shall not be permitted in mixed-use projects.

7. Mixed-use projects shall provide enclosures for recyclable and garbage collection points, as outlined in Chapter 17.25 AHMC. (Ord. C-962 § 14, 2021)

17.10.040 Allowed uses.

The uses allowed in the C-1, C-1A, and C-2 zones are shown in Table 17.10.040. This table is to be used in conjunction with Table 1 in Chapter 17.05 AHMC and the definitions in Chapter 17.04 AHMC to assure accurate classification of uses. Additional information about permitted uses in aircraft accident potential areas or in areas where noise contours exceed 65 CNEL is provided in Chapter 17.16 AHMC, JLUS Protections for Fairchild Air Force Base.

A. Administration and Interpretation. The Director or designee shall review proposed development applications and determine their appropriateness for location in the applicable zoning districts in accordance with AHMC 14.02.020 and 17.05.030. This is a guide that requires application of Chapter 17.04, Definitions, Chapter 17.05 AHMC, Zoning Classification, Map, and Matrix, and Chapter 17.16 AHMC, JLUS.

B. Types of Permits.

1. Permitted (P). Uses identified as permitted may be allowed subject to the standards of the zoning ordinance and other applicable provisions of the AHMC.

2. Not Permitted (N). Uses identified as not permitted may not be allowed to locate in the zoning district where the use is not permitted.

3. Permitted with Limitations (L). Uses identified as permitted with limitations may locate in the appropriate zoning districts provided, they comply with special regulations or design standards to ensure compatibility with surrounding uses and consistency with Airway Heights’s policy. The Director or designee will evaluate each application for compliance with applicable special regulations or design standards.

4. Conditionally Permitted (C). Uses identified as conditionally permitted may be permitted subject to issuance of a conditional use permit in accordance with Chapter 14.03 AHMC.

Table 17.10.040 – Commercial Zoning Districts Allowed Uses 

P – Permitted | N – Not permitted | L – Permitted with limitations | C – Conditionally permitted

Use Categories

C1

C1-A

C2

CNEL

<65

65 – 69

>70

<65

65 – 69

>70

<65

65 – 69

>70

Dwelling, single-family detached

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Dwelling single-family, attached

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Dwelling, townhouse

L4

C4

N

L4

C4

N

L4

C4

N

Dwelling, multifamily residential

L2/4

C2/4

N

L4

C4

N

L4

C4

N

Hotels, including bed and breakfast inns*

P

C/N5

N

P

C/N5

N

P

C/N5

N

Commercial, financial, retail, personal services

P1

P1

P1

P

P

P

P

P

P

Eating and drinking establishments

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Education facilities

P

C

N

P

C

N

P

C

N

Professional and medical offices

P

P/C6

P/C6

P

P/C6

P/C6

P

P/C6

P/C6

Entertainment, museum and cultural facilities

P

C

C/N7

P

C

N

P

C

C/N7

Government, public service or utility structures, social services

P

C

N

P

C

N

P

C

N

Religious institutions

P

C

N

P

C

N

P

C

N

Parks and open space

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Structured parking if appurtenant to other permitted use

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

Public parking lot

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

Limited industrial

N

N

N

N

N

N

C

C

C

Heavy industrial

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Agricultural uses, including animal or grain processing

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Drive-through businesses

L8

L8

L8

L8

L8

L8

P

P

P

Motor vehicles sales, rental, repair or washing

N

N

N

P

P

P

P

P

P

Automotive parts and tires

N

N

N

P

P

P

P

P

P

Gasoline sales

N

N

N

N

N

N

P

P

P

Self-storage or warehouse

N

N

N

N

N

N

C

C

C

Adult business

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

Mobile food vending3

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Notes:

[1] Retail uses having more than 40,000 gross square feet are not permitted in the C-1 zone.

[2] Residential uses are required to be mixed on the same parcel as proposed office and retail uses.

[3] All mobile food vendors shall have a valid temporary food establishment permit issued by the Spokane Regional Health District.

[4] Mixed uses are prohibited if not depicted on the official zoning map as eligible for mixed use (Appendix B in Chapter 17.16 AHMC).

[5] Hotels in the 65-69 CNEL require a CUP and are not permitted in 70-75 CNEL under Chapter 17.16 AHMC, JLUS high intensity use.

[6] Hospitals and nursing homes require a CUP under Chapter 17.16 AHMC, Table 2.

[7] Museums, art galleries and libraries require a CUP under Chapter 17.16 AHMC, Table 2.

[8] Drive-through business are permitted only when entrances and exits are directly from an arterial and not from US 2. The pickup window is required to be on the building side opposite of US 2.

* Code reviser’s note: Ord. C-962 included incorrect entries for the C1-A (65-69) and C1-A (>70) columns in this row. The entries have been corrected to reflect the intent of the city.

(Ord. C-962 § 15, 2021)

17.10.050 Floor area ratios (FAR).

To determine the allowed gross floor area of all buildings or structures allowed on a site, the FAR in Table 17.10.050 is multiplied by the area of the lot.

Table 17.10.050 – Floor Area Ratios (FARs)

 

Zoning District

C-1

C-1A

C-2

Nonresidential

1.0

1.0

1.0

Residential

1.0

1.0

1.0

Combined

2.0

2.0

1.5

Exceptions.

A. Hotels and motels (including bed and breakfast inns) are considered residential uses for the purpose of FAR.

B. Exclusions from Floor Area Calculations.

1. Floor area dedicated to parking.

2. Elevators, staircases, escalators and mechanical spaces.

3. Exterior decks, porches and arcades open to the air.

4. Floor area dedicated to public amenities. (Ord. C-962 § 16, 2021)

17.10.060 Maximum building height.

Table 17.10.060 sets forth the maximum building and structure heights for each zone. Each structure, development or activity shall comply with these requirements except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

Table 17.10.060 – Maximum Building Height

 

Zoning District

C-1

C-1A

C-2

Residential

45'

45'

45'

Nonresidential

45'

45'

60'

Combined

60'

60'

60'

(Ord. C-962 § 17, 2021)

17.10.070 Setbacks and required sidewalk width.

Regardless of minimum setback, buildings shall be no closer than 12 feet from the face of the curb and shall always be constructed on private property.

A. Sidewalks shall be at least 12 feet wide and consist of a clear walking path at least eight feet wide (in addition to a planting zone for street trees).

B. This width may be reduced, by approval of the Technical Review Committee, if the existing sidewalk is less than 12 feet wide between the face of curb and the existing building setback line of adjacent building(s). In no case shall the setback be reduced below nine feet from the face of the curb, unless on-street parking exists between the building and the street. In that instance, the sidewalk shall maintain a clear walking path of at least seven feet wide.

C. Minimum setback standards measured from the property line are found in Table 17.10.070.

Table 17.10.070 – Minimum Setbacks from Property Line

 

Zoning District

C-1

C-1A

C-2

Minimum setback from street

0'

0'

20'

Minimum setback from lot line adjoining residential zone

20'

20'

30'

Minimum setback from lot line adjoining nonresidential zone

0'

0'

25'

(Ord. C-962 § 18, 2021)

17.10.080 Parking and loading.

The standards pertaining to the minimum required and maximum allowed number of auto parking spaces, minimum required number of bicycle parking spaces, parking lot placement, parking lot setbacks, and internal parking lot pedestrian connections are stated in Chapter 17.21 AHMC, Parking and Loading. (Ord. C-962 § 19, 2021)

17.10.090 Landscaping and screening.

The standards for landscaping and screening are stated in Chapter 17.22 AHMC, Landscaping. (Ord. C-962 § 20, 2021)

17.10.100 Fences.

A. Purpose. The fence standards promote the positive benefits of fences without adversely impacting the community or endangering public or vehicle safety. Fences near streets are kept low to allow visibility into and out of the site and to ensure visibility for motorists. Fences in any required side or rear setback are limited in height not to conflict with the purpose for the setback.

B. Type of Fences. The standards apply to walls, fences, and screens of all types whether open, solid, wood, metal, wire, masonry, or other material.

C. Location, Height, and Design.

1. Street Setbacks. No fence or other structure is allowed within 12 feet from the face of the curb, consistent with the required sidewalk width of AHMC 17.10.070.

2. Measured from Front Lot Line. Fences up to three and one-half feet high are allowed in a required street setback that is measured from a front lot line.

3. Measured from a Side Lot Line. Fences up to six feet high are allowed in a required setback that is measured from a side lot line.

4. Fences shall not reduce the required setback width of AHMC 17.10.070.

D. Side or Rear Structure Setbacks. Fences up to six feet high are allowed in required side or rear setbacks except when the side or rear setback abuts a pedestrian connection. When the side or rear setback abuts a pedestrian connection, fences are limited to three and one-half feet in height.

E. Not in Setbacks. The height for fences that are not in required setbacks is the same as the regular height limits of the zone.

F. Sight-Obscuring Fences and Walls. Any sight-obscuring fences, walls, and other structures over three and one-half feet high and within 15 feet of a street lot line shall either be placed on the interior side of an L2 see-through buffer landscaping area at least five feet in depth (See Chapter 17.22 AHMC, Landscaping), or meet the treatment of blank walls intent outlined in AHMC 17.10.030(H).

G. Prohibited Fences.

1. No person may erect or maintain a fence or barrier consisting of or containing barbed, razor, concertina, or similar wire.

2. No person may maintain a fence or barrier charged with electricity.

3. A fence, wall, or other structure shall not be placed within a public right-of-way without an approved covenant as provided in Chapter 17.20 AHMC and any such structure is subject to the height requirement for the adjoining setback.

4. No fence may be closer than 12 feet to the curb.

H. Visibility at Intersections.

1. A fence, wall, hedge or other improvement shall conform to Chapter 17.22 AHMC and shall not be erected or maintained at the corner of a lot so as to obstruct the view of travelers upon the streets.

2. Subject to the authority of the traffic engineer to make adjustments and special requirements in particular cases, all fences, vegetation, and other features within the clear view triangle defined in Chapter 17.19 AHMC shall be maintained to keep a vertical clear view zone between three and eight feet from ground level.

I. Enclosures for Pools, Hot Tubs, or Ponds.

1. A person maintaining a swimming pool, hot tub, pond or other impoundment of water exceeding 5,000 gallons and 18 inches or more in depth and located on private property is required to construct and maintain an approved fence by which the pool or water feature is enclosed and inaccessible by small children.

2. The required pool enclosure must be at least 54 inches high and may be a fence, wall, building, or other structure approved by the Building Services Department.

3. If the enclosure is a woven wire fence, it is required to be built to discourage climbing.

4. No opening, except a door or gate may exceed four inches in any dimension.

5. Any door or gate in the pool enclosure, except when part of the occupied dwelling unit, must have self-closing and self-locking equipment by which the door or gate is kept secure when not in use. A latch or lock release on the outside of the door or gate must be 54 inches above the ground.

6. Outside of the door or gate must be at least 54 inches above the ground.

J. Reference to Other Standards. Building permits are required by the Building Services Department for all fences including the replacement of existing fences. A permit is not required to repair an existing fence. (Ord. C-962 § 21, 2021)

17.10.110 Signs.

Sign standards are stated in Chapter 17.23 AHMC for all land within commercial zones, except that no pole signs shall be permitted in the C-1 zone. (Ord. C-962 § 22, 2021)

17.10.120 Relationship to AICUZ.

Land use, building height and intensity limitations may be imposed by the air installation compatibility use zone requirements, found in Chapter 17.16 AHMC. (Ord. C-962 § 23, 2021)